Across Indiana and Kentucky, people are gathering with friends and family to celebrate the holidays. This time of year we all start using heaters, wood fireplaces, candles, ovens and space heaters more frequently, as the temperatures dip. Unfortunately, fatalities and injuries due to home fires, electrical failures and carbon monoxide poisoning tend to increase in the winter. To avoid dangerous home fires and CO poisoning that can lead to severe personal injury or death, please consider these tips:

  • Fireplaces can cause dangerous flue fires. Have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned as needed. Keeping the flue clean also prevents carbon monoxide from backing up into your home.
  • If you are using a space heater, remember to never use gasoline in a kerosene heater. Don't cover the heater's cords with rugs, and keep anything combustible at least 5 feet away from the heater.
  • Battery powered candles are the safest candles to use, but if you choose to use actual flame candles this winter, you should: 1) keep combustible and flammable objects away from candles, 2) instruct children not to play near candles, and 3) always remember to blow out the candles when you leave your home.
  • If the power goes out, do not attempt to warm your home with a gas oven and do not use a generator indoors. Doing either of these things can produce lethal amounts of CO in your home.

Celebrate with all the warmth and light the holiday season deserves, but remember these preventive measures to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe this winter.